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What is Trademark Opposition?

A ‘Trademark opposition’ means an objection filed by third parties, against the registration of a trademark within 4 months of the advertisement of the trademark to be opposed. In the process of registering your trademark, there are two instances where a provision of refusal can be raised against the registration of your mark- The first instance is known as an Objection the second instance is known as an Opposition. After the examiner reviews your trademark and finds that it qualifies for registration, your trademark will be published in the Trademarks Journal. The purpose behind publishing a Trademark in the Journal is to enable any third party to view the trademark and file a trademark opposition against it. Once advertised, the trademark is open for opposition purposes for a compulsory period of four (4) months. In case no opposition is filed within this stipulated time period, the mark proceeds to registration.

Procedure for Filing Trademark Opposition
  • Notice of Opposition: Any person can file a notice of opposition on a trademark that is advertised in the trademark journal within 4 months from the date of advertisement.
  • Counter-Statement: Within 2 months (not extendable) of the receipt of the notice of opposition. on failure of filing the counter-statement the application for registration deemed to be abandoned or deserted by the applicant and the Registrar will take it down from the journal and will not approve it for the registers.
  • Evidence in Support of Opposition: The opposing party has to produce evidence to support its objection within 2 months (extendable by one month) of receiving the copy of the counter-statement filed by the applicant. The party also has the option of refraining from producing any evidence and relying solely on the opposition notice.
  • Evidence in Support of Application: Upon receipt of the evidence of the Opponent, even the Applicant is provided with 2 months (extendable by 1 month) for filing Evidence in Support of Application, if any. He also has an option of not providing any evidence and to rely only on the counter statement as provided in Rule 46,The Trademark Rules, 2017.
  • Evidence in reply: The Opponent is given 1 month (extendable by 1 month) to file Evidence in response to the Applicant's evidence. Once this phase is over parties are not allowed to adduce any further evidence. However, the Registrar can exercise his discretion to ask for more evidence subject to cost and terms. An interlocutory application needs to be filled by the concerned party for this.
  • Hearing: Based on the notice of opposition, counter-statement, and evidence filed, the Registrar shall call for a hearing. Hearing is based on the notice of opposition, counter-statement, and evidence filed. The parties are required to notify the Registrar about their intention to appear for the hearing. Within fourteen days of receipt of the notice of hearing, the parties are required to notify the Registrar of their intention to appear in the matter. Finally, the matter is heard by the Registrar and decided upon merits. If any of the party doesn't show up for the hearing the Registrar will rule against his favor.
  • Registration or Rejection: If the registrar decides in favor of the applicant, the trademark will be registered and a registration certificate will be issued. If the registrar decides in favor of the opponent, then the trademark application shall be rejected.
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